A more “hybrid” approach to how and where London workers do their jobs is likely to emerge after the pandemic, with an increased number of businesses adopting a mixture of office and home-based employment, according to new research for the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).
Of the 500 leaders of a wide range of businesses surveyed by polling company Savanta ComRes, 52 per cent said they intend to continue with some form and degree of remote working practices after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, with nearly a third saying they will continue with reduced core workspace.
Over 60 per cent said they have allowed staff to work from home for at least two days a week during the pandemic, with most of the others indicating that it was not an option was not applicable to the type of business they run.
More than one third of the employers said the work-from-home levels adopted during the pandemic would continue afterwards and a further 16 per cent said they would retain remote working to a lesser degree.
Responding to the findings, LCCI chief executive Richard Burge said they comprise “a further body of evidence that shows changes to ways of working that we have seen during the pandemic are going to carry on in some form for some businesses after it is over”.
Addressing the implications of such a shift, Burge said they would mean fewer commuters to “certain parts of London” than before the coronavirus arrived, which would “present a challenge for support business in those areas”, meaning retail, hospitality and certain service businesses that depend on high concentrations of office-based workers for trade.
With more people than pre-Covid looking likely to be based in their home neighbourhoods during their working days, Burge highlighted “potential opportunity for those areas”, such as the creation of “Outer London co-working spaces”. He added: London’s councils and the Mayor need to work together as closely as possible to consider how to respond to the change that this could bring to central and local high streets.”
Burge also underlined previous calls for “part-week, flexible, season ticket options,” from rail companies and urged the government to consider a “long-term financial model” for funding Transport for London that acknowledges changing patterns of transport use.
He welcomed Sadiq Khan’s recent investment in a campaign to promote domestic tourism and urged the government to assist with the safe return of international visitors by ensuring that UK border protection measures are effective.
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